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Constitution Day/'Star Spangled Banner' anniversary event at West campus Sept. 17 - photos

A wide-angle photo shows some of the gathering inside the West Campus gym near the end of the assembly to recognize Constitution Day Sept. 17. The event was also timed for the 200th anniversary of the "Star Spangled Banner." The song was written during the War of 1812, but did not actually become the national anthem until 1931. Standing in the middle of the photo (with the projected American flag behind him) and addressing the students in the bleachers at the right is West Assistant Principal Chris Lehman, who manages the elementary (grades K-5) side of the campus. He is praising the direction of music instructor David Foster, whose arm is outstretched, in turn, to acknowledge about 70 of his students who performed from the middle school band, orchestra and eighth-grade choir. Also adding to the show were 150 students in the grades 4-5 choir. The assembly was attended by all the students in both the elementary and middle schools. Others present included campus Principal Judy Hawkins and Karen Newton, the assistant principal assigned to the middle school (grades 6-8). The two schools share the 1924 building between 19th and 20th streets on Pikes Peak Avenue that was originally West Junior High. It became West Middle in the '90s, with the elementary created in the west part of the building in 2009.

LEFT: Members of the West Middle School Drama Club take turns presenting parts of the story that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the "Star Spangled Banner." A lawyer as well as a poet, he had gone the night of Sept. 13, 1814, onto a British ship outside Baltimore to negotiate the release of American prisoners. This was during the War of 1812 between England and America. As a result, Key was on the ship that night as the British shelled America's Fort Henry. But at dawn of Sept. 14, he saw to his delight that the American flag was still flying over the fort. He wrote the words a few days later, using a melody that was known during that time. ABOVE: West Middle School music instructor David Foster leads the band in a song. His students later performed an instrumental version of the "Star Spangled Banner."

Students of the West campus stand for the national anthem, played by West Middle School music instructor David Foster's instrumentalists. The Constitution Day assembly, with the background on the national anthem, "helps the kid understand what we do in this country and why we do it," Assistant Principal Lehman said.

Westside Pioneer photos
(Posted 9/19/14, updated 9/20/14; Schools: West Elementary/West Middle School)

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